|Hydrastis canadensis image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons|
All the warm weather we've had lately has given me a full-blown case of Spring Fever. During the workday, it's hard to keep myself from staring out the window and daydreaming about plans for my garden. And all weekend I poured over catalogs looking at plants and garden ornaments, making lists of those I’d like to add to my perennial and herb beds.
One of the things I’m keeping in mind this year as I choose plants is something I recently read in Rosemary Gladstar’s “Family Herbal“ book. In this amazing guide to natural therapies and herbal remedies the author discusses the work of United Plant Savers, a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and cultivation of native medicinal plants and their habitats.
UpS has compiled “at risk” and “to watch” lists of herbs that are endangered; though the author notes that, in some cases, an “at risk” plant could be abundant in one of its native bio-regions and rare in others. I’ve listed the “at risk” herbs below, though the list dates to 2001 when the book was published. There may very well be more plants on the list by now. If you'd like more information, write to United Plant Savers at PO Box 98, East Barre, VT 05649.
American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)
Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racenose)
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)
Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)
Echinacea (Echinacea spp.)
Eyebright (Euphrasia spp.)
Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)
Helonia root (Chamaelirium luteum)
Kava-kava (Piper methysticum)
Lady’s slipper orchid (Cypripedium spp.)
Lomatium (Lomatium dissectum)
Osha (Ligusticum spp.)
Peyote (Lophophora williamsli)
Slippery elm (Ulmus rubra)
Sundew (Drosera spp.)
Trillium (Trillium spp.)
True unicorn (Aletris farinosa)
Venus fly trap (Dionaea muscipula)
Virginia snakeroot (Aristolochia serpentaria)
Wild yam (Dioscorea spp.)